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Red flags for colorectal cancer in young adults

https://www.facingourrisk.org/XRAY/red-flags-for-colorectal-cancer-in-young-adults
Full article: https://medicine.wustl.edu/news/red-flags-indicate-risk-for-early-onset-colorectal-cancer/

The rate of colorectal cancer in young adults has been increasing. Researchers in this study identified four signs or “red flags” for colorectal cancer before age 50 (considered to be early onset colorectal cancer). Recognizing these red flags can help diagnose and treat colorectal cancer earlier.  (Posted 10/23/23)

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Questions To Ask Your Health Care Provider

Open Clinical Trials

The following resources focus on colorectal cancer:

The U.S. government and many health organizations have recommendations for colorectal cancer screening and other preventative measures. Below are the recommendations from the American Cancer Society (ACS), the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) and the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF).


Screening Recommendations

 

ACS

NCCN

USPSTF

Recommended age to begin routine colorectal cancer screening for people at average risk for the disease

Age 45

Age 45

Age 45 -49
(Grade B)

Age 50 
(Grade A)

Recommended age to discontinue routine screening for those at average risk

Age 75

Age 75

Age 75

Recommends that screening for adults ages 76 to 85 be based on patient preferences, health status, and prior screening history.

Yes

Yes

Yes (Grade C)

Advises against colorectal cancer screening beyond 85 years of age

Yes

-

-

Recommended age to begin routine colorectal cancer screening for people at high risk* for the disease

Before age 45: specific age depends on risk factor

Before age 45: specific age depends on risk factor

-


*People with any of the following are considered high risk: 1) personal history of colorectal cancer or certain types of polyps, 2) family history of colorectal cancer, 3) personal history of inflammatory bowel disease, or 4) a confirmed or suspected hereditary colorectal cancer syndrome, such as familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) or Lynch syndrome.


Colorectal cancer screening tests

Stool‐based tests are tests performed on a stool (feces) sample to help diagnose conditions affecting the digestive tract, including colorectal cancer. Like most screening diagnostics, the frequency of stool tests varies. Stool tests include:

Stool Test

Recommended frequency

Fecal protein test (FIT)

Once per year

Fecal blood test (gFOBT)

Once per year

Fecal DNA test (FIT-DNA)

Once every 1 or 3 years

 

Structural (visual) examinations look inside the colon and rectum for areas that might be cancerous or have polyps. These include:

Structural examinations

Recommended frequency

Colonoscopy

Once per 10 years

CT colonography

Once per 5 years

Flexible sigmoidoscopy

Once per 5 years

Flexible sigmoidoscopy with FIT

Flexible Sigmoidoscopy every 10 years plus FIT every year


Importantly, of all the screenings available, colonoscopy can prevent many cases of colorectal cancer by finding and removing abnormalities before they can become cancer. Although sigmoidoscopy can also find and remove polyps, this procedure uses a shorter scope that doesn’t examine the entire colon. 

Insurance coverage for screening

Colorectal cancer screenings such as stool-based tests (see descriptions below) beginning at age 45 have been given a grade "A" or "B" by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF). This means that these services have shown effectiveness in detecting or preventing the disease. 

For individuals at increased risk, certain states require insurance coverage of colonoscopy beyond that required under the ACA. Check with your state insurance commission to determine if you live in one of these states.

The following are studies looking at colorectal cancer screening or prevention.  ​​​​​

Other colorectal cancer screening and prevention studies may be found here.

About FORCE

FORCE is a national nonprofit organization, established in 1999. Our mission is to improve the lives of individuals and families affected by adult hereditary cancers.